Wednesday, July 7, 2010

On Visions of the Future

I have noticed a curious thing.

In decades past, most visions of the future, the new millennium and whatnot, have been full of smooth metal surfaces and minimalist spandex clothing in metallics or bright colors. Smooth and pristine was the vision of future fashion, technology, and living spaces.

Perhaps because those visions were found in especially cheesy movies, or perhaps because of something within the attitude of our world, or perhaps because our sense of aesthetic has simply taken a very different path than the dreamers of past decades expected, our modern generation rejects the pristine. Oh, not entirely - after all, look at anything made by Apple if you want shiny, simple, and modern - but in pieces.

Firstly, I have noticed that every once in a while, the "futuristic" look becomes "in" on the runways. Shiny, tight clothes, often with large shoulders or awkwardly structured skirts, and completed by enormous boots are donned by model after model. Yet, like most extreme couture, it never quite strikes the population the way designers may have intended. What the population accepts is strappy metallic sandals, or a shirt half-covered in silver sequins, or a minimalist white suit. We accept pieces.

And in some cases, we reject the pristine ideal completely, instead favoring deliberate imperfection. Ripped jeans, uneven skirt hems. Major singers and bands using handwritten CD liner notes, with bits crossed out and re-written. Digitally-created marketing images that look like slightly smudged ink-stamps. Our culture actually craves and appreciates this deliberate imperfection.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think it's a bad thing. I'd get quite aggravated if everything looked like it was designed for Apple or for Dolce & Gabbana couture. I do, however, find it quite interesting that people of the past expected culture to favor sterile, and we have come to favor quite the opposite (again, with the exception of Apple). Moreover, a lot of it actually looks really good.

Very interesting, indeed.

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